November 26, 2018
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Natalie Margolin ’14 knows how hard it can be to find the perfect play for a senior thesis. So instead of searching for a play, she wrote her own.
Working with Casey Griffin ’14 and Elizabeth Gambal ’14, Margolin finalized The Power of Punctuation,a play that examines the nature of female friendships. After a year in the making, the show, starring Margolin and Gambal and directed by Griffin, will go up in the Hill Theater on Friday.
But deciding to do a new piece was not the original plan. When the three seniors first began the search for their senior thesis performance, they faced a daunting task of finding a show with strong female leads in an art form that is male-dominated.
“There were no other plays. We looked for a play with two strong female characters that I connected to and [Elizabeth] connected to and Casey connected to. … We couldn’t find anything,” Margolin said.
By chance, however, Margolin allowed Griffin to read a short piece she had written in her Playwriting class, taught by Professor of Drama Wendy MacLeod. Griffin immediately knew they needed to ask the Drama Department to do the show.
“Wendy is the reason we’re doing this. Natalie wouldn’t have written the play if Wendy hadn’t taught the Playwriting class,” Griffin said. With support from the Department, they began to make the project their own. Margolin refined the work over the summer, and the students workshopped the show last semester.
The Power of Punctuation focuses on the relationship between three college roommates, played by Margolin, Gambal and Rebecca Frisch ’14. Yet Griffin says it covers the range of female friendships. “It’s a comedy, but it’s serious,” she said. Although the cast is entirely female, The Power of Punctuation does not shy away from talking about men. “It’s about how boys complicate relationships between girl friends,” Gambal said.
What makes The Power of Punctuation unique is how eagerly the team has embraced its foundational idea of female empowerment, and that it features a female cast with a production team dominated by women, including faculty advisor MacLeod and Production Stage Manager Meg Thornbury ’16.
With a fully completed one-act play, Gambal, Griffin and Margolin have spent the last four weeks mounting the show. The intense friendships, which are so foundational to the plot of Power of Punctuation, have crossed over into their relationships with each other. “The rehearsal process has been intense, but only in a positive way,” Margolin said. Director Griffin agreed: “Often with any show, there are people you’re going to have to get to know, that you have to build trust with. But we all came in trusting each other completely.”
Also special to this production is that Gambal, Griffin and Margolin have never worked together on this level before. “Natalie and I have never gotten to act together, really. And finally after talking for two years, to finally get to act together. It’s been nice,” Gambal said.
With opening night this week, Gambal, Griffin and Margolin said they are excited to see their hard work pay off.
The trio hope their show will be entertaining and honest. “We were also invested in the idea of doing something that would connect, not only for us, but for the audience generally. Not just theater kids, not just the department. Something we can actually do,” Margolin said. “It feels really emotionally fun. We’re creating something.”
The show premieres tomorrow night at the Hill Theater.
By Victoria Ungvarsky '17Read the Original Post